When we initially reviewed this machine, it was priced at $899 MSRP, $849 retail. It has since gone down to $699 if you shop around. (edited October 30, 2003).
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The Solis Master 5000 Digital super automatic (herein called "Master Digital") is one of the new breed of "digital" or electronically controled super automatics on the current domestic espresso market. This review was originally written in February, 2000, and has been recently updated with a 2 year review of how the machine performs on a long term basis.
By definition, Super Automatics will do everything necessary to deliver a shot of espresso into the cup: grind, dose, tamp, brew, eject spent puck. Some even go further, with preinfusion, pregrinding, and other features. The Master Digital does all of this and more. It also lacks a few features that some other super autos have, including a bypass chute for dispensing decaffeinated beans for a single shot.
The machine is laid out in a silver and what I call "deep steel blue" colour scheme, one matched by the Solis Maestro grinder.
The Master Digital has a lot of features, including:
- auto descaler
- water hardness selector
- easy reprogramming of shot volumes
- brewing and steam temperature selections
- auto cleaning cycle
- grind fineness selector dial
- grind volume selector dial
- total number of coffees brewed (I'm up to 71 as of this writing)
- three single button brew selectors
- one or two shots choice
- multitasking (ie, will brew while grinding for second shot)
- sensors all over the machine for operation warnings
- removable brew chamber
- turntable base
- froth aider
- hot water dispenser (good volume)
- energy saving modes
- preinfusion selectable (off, on, long)
- multi level auto priming system
This review is broken down into the following sections: